Restaurant Food Safety — Trends for 2023

Violetta Njunina

The Head of Sales at FoodDocs and is an experienced restaurant and event manager with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverages industry.

Food safety is a very dynamic sector of the food industry. Food safety standards and regulations are altered regularly and are greatly influenced by external environmental conditions, health concerns, and consumer preferences. 

Food safety is a very dynamic sector of the food industry. Food safety standards and regulations are altered regularly and are greatly influenced by external environmental conditions, health concerns, and consumer preferences. 

The main food safety trends emerging in 2023 revolve around the digitalization of food safety management systems, rigorous food transportation safety standards, and a strong focus on sustainability in food safety practices. 

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the top restaurant food safety trends for 2023 that are important to know. 

Digitalization & Smarter Food Safety 

In recent years, the food industry has undergone digitalization on a massive scale. For instance, the FDA’s current “The New Era of Smarter Food Safety” program lays the groundwork for leveraging technology to create a more digitized food safety system. The program is centered around developing a technology-driven traceability system and highlighting food safety culture. 

The use of wireless temperature monitoring is one example of digitalization in food safety. Automated temperature monitoring has emerged as a massive asset to the food industry. It is helping reduce the risk of human error in maintaining temperature logs by eliminating the outdated pen-and-paper checklist. 

Post-Pandemic Food Service 

While the world is actively learning to combat the coronavirus, food businesses are focused on continuing to abide by the rigorous safety procedures implemented during the pandemic. 

Food businesses are finding more ways to protect their consumers, emphasizing stricter cleaning, strict sanitation schedules, and a comprehensive approach to preventing cross-contamination. 

Food Packaging Technology

One of the most innovative food safety trends that have grown in popularity is coded food packaging. To meet increasing consumer demands, many food packages today have printed barcodes or QR codes that can be scanned to display an ingredient list, where the ingredients were harvested from, and where the food was packed. 

Food safety doesn’t just begin in the kitchen. As a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the ingredients or food you order for your business are safely sourced. When you’re able to get information about the food beneath the label, you can rest assured it is safe to use before the package is even opened. 

Safer Food Transportation 

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed how consumers view and access food and how food businesses provide their services. 

Amid the global health crisis, food deliveries tripled in value in 2021 (compared to 2017), and this trend has not ended with the pandemic. Even as indoor dining opens back up, people are continuing to order food deliveries at a significantly higher rate compared to pre-pandemic times. 

With a busier lifestyle and limited time, the convenience of food deliveries has become an important factor for customers around the globe. 

But with the continuous growth of the food delivery sector, a greater emphasis is also placed on safer food packaging and transportation practices. Many new guidelines on logistics and food hygiene practices for deliveries are being established concerning preservation, temperature, packing, sanitation, security, and more. 

Sustainability As A Trend

Sustainability programs are gaining steam in every food sector, with more and more corporations charting sustainability programs and releasing annual reports showcasing their progress. 

Customers are also increasingly considering sustainability and food safety as a huge metric when rating the performance of a restaurant or food business. That’s because the new generation of consumers is much more conscious of the environmental impact of the food they consume.

For instance, Business Green reported that concern about the environment among British diners has grown by nearly 40% after the pandemic. 

Since most food businesses put safety first, sustainability is often left in the backlog. But if food businesses today want to meet high consumer expectations and fire up their sustainability ratings, combining safety and sustainability in their food practices is essential. An effective digital food safety program can help your team effectively combine the two. 

Sustainability in the food business can also include other elements, such as sourcing sustainable ingredients, using environmentally friendly packaging and production methods, and inspecting primary packaged products during quality control. Below are some simple, sustainable food safety practices being used by food businesses around the globe: 

  • Prioritizing local food suppliers to reduce food miles.
  • Shortening menus to reduce overall food waste.
  • Improving indoor air quality by reducing the use of chemical-based cleaning products.
  • Replacing single-use plastic for storage and service with glass or compostable containers.
  • Using energy-efficient digital food safety kits to cut food waste and use lesser energy.
  • Digitizing appliance temperature monitoring systems to keep temperatures at eco-friendly, optimized levels at all times.
  • Cutting down on paper usage by digitizing traditional systems and eliminating paper-based processes.

Self-Monitoring Control Point 

Modern food inspection systems have long evolved from traditional paper and pen checklists to encompass various ranges of high-tech devices. 

For instance, many inspection systems are equipped with sensors that automatically check the system and its functionalities, making it an independent, self-monitoring critical control point. 

These systems can ensure a trouble-free production flow, help track operational reliability, and enhance food safety in many ways. 

Food inspection systems are also increasingly reliant on service and maintenance through a remote connection. This will further strengthen self-monitoring in food inspection and bring several other advantages, such as proactive service timing, faster response time, reduced error, and better usability throughout. 

Digital Supply Chains

Consumers today are considerably more proactive in terms of what they eat. Increased awareness regarding food safety and sustainable consumer practices is spurring a greater demand from restaurant guests to know where their food comes from. 

With a rise of “green,” sustainable life choices, many dining guests today prefer locally sourced, organic, and clean ingredients. 

This has put additional responsibility on food service businesses to know where they source their ingredients and engage in ethical, safe, and sustainable food practices. Many food businesses today have risen to meet this trend and are adopting a digitally connected supply chain to take greater charge of quality control and improve their supply management. 

Moving Forward 

As discussed above, keeping up with technological advancements and updated food safety programs can help improve your business’s approach to food safety and ensure your restaurant remains compliant with current safety rules and regulations. 

By implementing some of the latest digitalized safety management systems in your restaurant, you can improve the safety and quality of food straight from the source till the moment it reaches a customer’s plate. 

While these advancements can be slightly intimidating to implement at first, they’re designed to improve the level of service you offer and are a worthwhile investment in the long run.